ITC to probe Nintendo Wii patent infringement

Nintendo Co's Wii game console is displayed at an electronic shop in Tokyo's Akihabara district January 24, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade Commission has agreed to look into Hillcrest Laboratories' allegations that Nintendo Co Ltd 7974.OS infringed Hillcrest's patents in making its popular Wii video game, the ITC said on Wednesday.

Hillcrest has accused Nintendo of infringing four patents to make the top-selling Wii game console. Hillcrest made the filing to the ITC, which has the power to bar products such as the Wii from the United States if they are made with infringed technology.

Hillcrest filed a similar lawsuit in August in the U.S. District Court in Maryland.

Nintendo said that it respected the patents of other companies, and did not infringe on Hillcrest’s intellectual property. “Nintendo intends to vigorously defend this action,” it said in a statement.

Hillcrest had no immediate comment.

Rockville, Maryland-based Hillcrest has created motion-detecting technology allowing users to select items on a screen by waving a handheld device.

The Wii features a motion-sensing controller that lets users direct on-screen play by swinging it like a bat or a tennis racket. The console has been a huge success since its 2006 launch.

Hillcrest has said other leading consumer electronics companies, including Eastman Kodak EK.N, had licensed its technology.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Brad Dorfman